Content below the cut is PG-13
Grinelda’s Guest Authors
Guest Author Roland Allnach
Remnant ~ Science Fiction
Roland Allnach has been writing since his teens, but did not actively seek publication until 2007. He has numerous published short stories to his credit, one of which was a 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee, as well as two award winning books, Remnant (2010) and Oddities & Entities (2012). His literary inspirations arise from classic literature, history, and mythology, and his aim is to invest his stories and characters with a complexity and depth that continue to reward upon repeated readings. Writing aside, his joy in life is the time he spends with his family.
I’m happy to have author Roland Allnach on my blog today.
What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you?
There aren’t nearly enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do, so I try to break down my responsibilities into morsels and take them on one at a time. To focus my thoughts, there’s nothing like taking a hike, and enjoying the company of trees.
What is your perception of your personality?
I’m prone to introspection, and I believe it contributes a great deal to my writing. Even though I’m a bit of a complicated person, I have simple tastes, and enjoy the simple things in life. It seems a more peaceful way to exist among all the craziness of the world.
Where do you think you are in your writing career? Where do you want to be?
Between my short stories, two books, and a third on the way, I’m out of the starter gate, but I still have a long way to go. I’m still working to build an audience, but I’ve built a nice list of reviews and award credentials to support my work. I hope to one day claim writing as my full time career.
What is your writing style? Why do you think your writing style is such as it is?
My writing is introspective and character oriented. That’s a reflection of books that have impacted me as a reader and what I wish to convey as an author.
How long have you been writing? Casually or academically? Professionally?
Writing started in my late teens a creative hobby. Over the years it grew into the one creative outlet I was determined to pursue, but I didn’t commit to a disciplined publication approach until 2007.
What do you write?
I’ve made my way through a number of genres, including some short mainstream pieces. No matter the genre, though, there’s always something a little strange within the narrative. My first book, ‘Remnant’, combined sci-fi and speculative fiction. My second book, ‘Oddities & Entities’, bridged the supernatural, horror, and paranormal. Both are available in print and e-book.
How do you keep yourself motivated to write?
I’m happy to say that the process of writing comes fairly easy. I find that I’m compelled to write from my own creative pressure, so the only real difficulty I have is deciding upon which idea to choose for my next tale.
Do you have a fave character?
I would say Odysseus, from Homer’s ‘Iliad’. Independent, even-tempered, wise, the man-with-a-plan, he’s the one who sees through all the facades.
If you could meet one character from your writing, who would it be?
From ‘Remnant’, I would choose Peter Lowry, from the story “Remnant”. He’s both very similar and very different from me, so it would be interesting to talk to ‘him’ and see that contextual difference in person.
What author has inspired you most in your writing?
I consider myself the student of many mentors when it comes to writing, but I think Tolstoy has been the most influential. I prefer to ground my writing through characterization, and I haven’t read anyone who can surpass Tolstoy’s ability to create compelling characters.
What is the hardest review or criticism you’ve had about your writing and how did you deal with it?
I pride myself on the introspective element of my writing, so when a reader doesn’t find that aspect interesting, it bothers me. Opinions are subjective, and not every story can translate favorably to every reader. That said, I consider every opinion as an opportunity to understand how my writing is received. There’s always room for refinement in balancing narrative structure.
Which one of your publications will you be sharing today?
My first book, ‘Remnant’, an anthology of three novellas bridging the sci-fi and speculative genres.
Why did you choose this one?
Being my first book, I wanted to go back and lend ‘Remnant’ some of the attention I’ve received since the publication of my second book, ‘Oddities & Entities’.
What do you think and feel about this publication?
Since I was sixteen I dreamed of seeing a book through to publication, so realizing that dream with ‘Remnant’ will always afford it a special place in my heart. Beyond that personal note, I think the three novellas complement each other very well, and combine to produce a distinctive reading experience.
How did you decide on the title?
The novellas of ‘Remnant’ are thematically linked around characters who are trying to piece their lives together after various traumatic events in their lives. Among choices loaded with moral conundrums, they try to find a sense of truth and redemption – their humanity is the lost remnant they seek.
Are any of the scenes or storylines in your book real life experiences?
Not directly. The first two stories are straight sci-fi pieces, with distant, fictional locales. As the theme of the book constricts toward the last story, the time locale is also closer to modern day, and so the physical locale is centered around New York and Connecticut. I grew up in New York, so it provided a rich context to anchor the closing of the book.
REMNANT is a stirring, thought provoking anthology of three novellas within the speculative/science fiction genres. The stories are linked in theme by characters seeking self- truth, redemption, and their moral center. The novellas, in order of appearance, are: “All the Fallen Angels”, in which a convicted war criminal attempts to make peace with his past; “Enemy, I Know You Not”, in which a military officer that was captured and tortured tries to find his loyalty in an abyss of suspected betrayals; and “Remnant”, in which the survivor of a global pandemic is confronted with the prospect of making peace with his memories when other survivors attempt to bring him back from self-imposed isolation
From the opening of ‘Remnant’:
…there she stands, among the whispers of ruin, caught between so much anger and hurt and betrayal. So dark, that night: the whisper of the wind, the patter of the rain, the steam of humid air; it had the feel of dissolution, of tears and loss and futility. And there she stands among it all, among the whispers, dehumanized, for what is her life—any life—but the lost murmur of whispers in the dark?
She was only nine. I shot her anyway.
The nightmare snapped away as it always did, stunning the mind of the man that had been held in its sway. He rose up in bed—not bolting, but more a slow, steady bend at the waist to sit upright, like some undead creature of old. The comparison, he thought distantly, was not all that off the mark.
He turned in the darkness to let his feet slide out from under the sheets of his bed. There was no curious glance over his shoulder to look upon his wife; he knew by now that she was a heavy enough sleeper, and that she had grown accustomed to his often troubled sleep. Yet it bothered him nonetheless, waking a petty notion in the lonely recesses of his heart, a petty notion of jealousy to sleep in apparent peace.
With a sigh, he departed the bed and staggered with the stiffness of his bad leg towards the little kitchen of their captain’s cabin. He moved with familiarity, not turning on any lights, yet still able to silently gather his customary mug and the hot water to make his tea. Then he settled himself at the small table beside the portal of their cabin, one hand on his mug, the other on his com. He looked out to the cold points of starlight in the black void. He blinked. The sound of water, the soft tinkle of running water, came to him. He looked to the sink, but he had turned off the faucet.
He closed his eyes.
The com vibrated under his hand, startling him. His arm folded like an old mechanism to bring the little black communicator to his ear. He could hear the breathing on the other end of the call. He knew who it was, but not how she knew to call, and she always knew; she always called when he woke, but she never spoke. Too many bad things dwelled between them, he knew. Where does one start? When all that’s left is broken, which piece do you pick up first, and more important, why that particular piece?
But then something changed: she spoke his name, her voice a thin rasp in his ear.
He blinked. His lips parted. He put the com down and keyed it off, but stared at it for several seconds, his face settling to stone. His eyelids slid shut, and when he opened them, he was looking to his side to see his wife standing by the teapot, arms crossed on her chest, her long blue nightshirt hanging to her knees. “Nightmare?” she said through a long yawn.
He stared at her.
She rubbed her face before walking around the table to hug him from behind, her arms wrapping around his shoulders. Her dark hair slid forward to brush against his cheek. He barely breathed. His eyes had not moved, holding where he had seen her, as if she still stood there.
He laid his hand over the com.
“It’s my burden, Pallia, not yours.”
Both of my books are available at my publisher, All Things That Matter Press, as well as Amazon and Barnes&Noble in print and e-book formats:
Autographed print books available are available at my website.
I’m looking into setting up another book tour this fall for my second book, ‘Oddities & Entities’. My third book, ‘Prism’, will hopefully reach publication early 2014. In the meantime, I update my website on a regular basis with any other emerging information.
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